EMBEZZLEMENT SHUTS ANZ BRANCH IN AMERICAN SAMOA

News Release

ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank Pago Pago, American Samoa April 30, 2007

The president and CEO of ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank, Gary Ayre, confirmed yesterday that the bank's branch in Ofu has been closed due to staff [embezzlement].

"The bank wishes to stress however that insurance coverage is held for losses incurred and that the customers of the bank should have no concerns regarding the safety of their money," Ayre stated. "The unfortunate matter is currently under police investigation and the bank is co-operating fully with the investigating officers."

[PIR editor’s note: According to Radio New Zealand International, police have confirmed that three employees of the Ofu Branch of the ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank are being questioned over missing bank funds. No arrests have yet been made but the Ofu branch has been closed since Tuesday. The amount of money unaccounted for is said to exceed US$20,000.]

In the meantime the bank is looking at its options for the Branch at Ofu and expects a decision to be made shortly regarding any re-opening of the branch.

"ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank extends its apologies to the customers of Ofu for any inconvenience caused by this closure," Ayre continued. "We have always enjoyed serving our Manua Island neighbors and hope we will be able to continue doing so in the future."

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